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Public Statements

Federal Reserve Transparency Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DUNCAN of Tennessee. Mr. Speaker, later today, we will vote on H.R. 459, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2012. Because this legislation comes to us on the suspension calendar, it will require a two-thirds vote in favor of passage.

I rise today in support of a full audit of the Federal Reserve. I have thought for many years that there's too much secrecy and too much power vested in our Federal Reserve. This is an effort that I first joined in June of 1991, in the 102nd Congress, when I cosponsored a bill introduced by Congressman Phil Crane of Illinois to audit the Federal Reserve.

Even back then, before our most recent major financial recession, Congressman Crane's bill had 56 bipartisan cosponsors. That support has grown over the years, and in the 111th Congress, the last Congress, Congressman Ron Paul's ``audit the Fed'' bill gathered an overwhelming 320 cosponsors from both parties. Now that support, I believe, is at 270 in this Congress.

Thomas Jefferson was one of our Founding Fathers who was concerned about putting too much power into a central bank, and he wrote in a letter in 1816 ``that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.'' That was not me; that was Thomas Jefferson.

Listen to what people are saying about this bill today from both ends of the political spectrum.

Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of Freedom Works, said:

Many economists have found that the central bank's loose monetary policy played a major role in the current economic crisis. It is more crucial than ever that the Federal Reserve's monetary decisions be examined. Without a comprehensive audit, we will never know how the Fed is manipulating our money behind closed doors.

The National Taxpayers Union, one of our most respected organizations, said:

American taxpayers deserve to know more about the workings of a government-sanctioned entity whose decisions directly affect their economic livelihood.

Arnold Kling, an author and scholar at the Cato Institute, said:

If an audit were to uncover serious flaws and decisions made by the Fed, it is difficult to see why we are better off remaining ignorant of such flaws.

Journalist and columnist Rick Sanchez said:

For an entity that wields so much power, we know relatively little about the Fed. Would you trust an unknown banker to decide what happens with your paycheck every week? Why do we accept this for our country?

And Brent Budowsky, a very liberal political opinion writer, wrote in support of an audit and said:

In my years of experience in politics, media, and business, I have learned that secrecy is usually the enemy of common sense, fairness, and sound policy.

Another liberal economist, the famous John Maynard Keynes, said this:

There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency.

And a very conservative--one of the most respected conservative economists, F.A. Hayek, said this:

When one studies the history of money, one cannot help wondering why people should have put up for so long with governments exercising an exclusive power over 2,000 years that was regularly used to exploit and defraud them.

I have heard over the years, Mr. Speaker, people say that we need to have a Federal Reserve and a Federal Reserve system in order to prevent depressions and recessions. Well, that is certainly a very, very dumb statement to make because the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, and 16 years later, in 1929, we started our greatest depression. I think we have had more recessions and more downturns in the economy since the Federal Reserve was created than we ever had in the entire history of our country before that system was created.

I'm not saying that it is a bad system or that it's wrong to have some type of Federal Reserve system, but it certainly is one that deserves more attention from the Congress. And surely, it is one that has too much secrecy and too much power in this day, and at least the Congress needs to look into it more than it has since that system and that board was created.

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